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Yard List = 144 species Scaled Quail, Turkey Vulture, Northern Harrier, Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Western Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Common Poorwill, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Anna's Hummingbird, Rufous/Allen's Hummingbird, Gila Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Gray Flycatcher, Say's Phoebe, Western Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Common Raven, Barn Swallow, Rock Wren, Bewick's Wren, House Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Northern Mockingbird, Curve-billed Thrasher, MacGillivray's Warbler, Green-tailed Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Canyon Towhee, Botteri's Sparrow, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Brewer's Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Pyrrhuloxia, Blue Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Scott's Oriole, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, House Sparrow.

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The White Mountains (Part 1)

(click on a photo to enlarge)

Too many months have passed by without a single blog entry and finding it impossible to “catch up,” I’m just going to write about a recent trip to the White Mountains in search of both birds and butterflies.

Day 1 — Getting There

We had not really planned this trip more than a day or so in advance, so rather than spend time packing up the RV, we just set out in the car for Apache County located in east-central Arizona bordering with New Mexico. It was not a difficult decision to leave temps in the high 90s for the pleasant 70s and lush mountain scenery.

On the way, we passed by the humongous eye-sore of the Morenci open-pit copper mine.

Morenci Open-pit Copper Mine
Morenci Open-Pit Copper Mine

On a positive note, this is an area where Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep can usually be seen just from along the roadsides. We saw both ewes and lambs going and coming on this trip.

Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep
Ewe and Lamb

Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep, ewe
Ewe

   Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep, lamb
Lamb

On a previous drive past this area, we were pleased to find a ram by the side of the road, unfortunately in an undesirable setting in front of a cyclone fence!

Rocky Mt. Bighorn Ram

Our destination on Day 1 was the small hamlet of Greer, about 17 miles southeast of Springerville. It was here we hoped to see both American Three-toed Woodpecker and American Dipper, new birds for our state list.

Day 2 — In and Around Greer

We got a bright and early start the next morning and headed straight for the Butler Nature Trail just minutes from our lodging. We’d been on this trail last fall, on a cold, rainy day and didn’t see our target bird — the American Three-toed Woodpecker so we hoped our luck would change on this trip. It wasn’t long before we spotted a female who posed for just enough time to confirm the ID and then flew off into the woods. Success but no photos. We hung around the trail for another hour or two enjoying watching the nesting Red-naped Sapsuckers and Violet-green Swallows both occupying holes in the same aspen tree. A Western Wood-Pewee sat on a nest far out on a limb of a pine as Pygmy Nuthatches fed their noisy fledglings.

Western Wood-Pewee on Nest
Western Wood-Pewee on Nest

As the morning warmed, the butterflies came out. Western Tiger Swallowtails joined Atlantis Fritillaries in the meadows and my first Arizona Boisduval’s Blue.

Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus)
Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus)

Atlantis Fritillary (Speyeria atlantis)
Atlantis Fritillary (Speyeria atlantis)

Atlantis Fritillary (Speyeria atlantis)
Atlantis Fritillary (Speyeria atlantis)

Boisduval's Blue (Plebejus icarioides)
Boisduval’s Blue (Plebejus icarioides)

(to be continued)

 

Published by Arlene Ripley on June 26th, 2013 Tagged Arizona, Birds, Butterflies, Nature, Wanderings

One Response to “The White Mountains (Part 1)”

  1. Mary Ellen Given Says:

    Hello! I am amazed at what beautiful photographs you are able to get of animals in the wild! You are so very talented and thank you for sharing with everyone :)

    I am curious to know more about the photo you have listed of the Neotoma drinking water — could you provide me with some more information on it? I would like to know when and where the photo was taken. I am wondering if it may actually be a cotton rat? We are studying 2 species of cotton rats (Sigmodon) along the LCR (lower Colorado River) — The Colorado River Cotton Rat and the Yuma Hispid Cotton Rat. I couldn’t help but think when I saw the photo that it looked like a cotton rat, and an amazing shot of one! How did you get that photo? Just stunning!

    I look forward to hearing from you, and please feel free to check out our website @ http://www.lcrmscp.gov — we have photos and species profiles for both Sigmodon species on there.

    Thank you so much!

    Sincerely,

    ~ Mary Ellen Given